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5 Minute Bible

This is a series of podcasts, relating to the academic and Christian reading of the Bible. They are all around 5 minutes in length. I am a teacher of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament who for most of the last two decades has worked both in a secular University and in a denominational seminary.

These recordings aim to bring the two parts of my professional life together, in a way that is useful to thinking Christians, pastors and theological students.


audio 165


bible 62
E100 51
Jesus 41
narrative 23
biblical studies 21
genesis 14
Matthew 13
Narrative 13
Acts 11
Bible 11
interpretation 11
John 10
Luke 10
Reading 10
exodus 10
e100 9
miracles 9
Genesis 8
Paul 8
reading 8
1 Samuel 7
genre 7
prophecy 7
bible study 6
humour 6
prophet 6
theology 6
1&2 Tim 5
Law 5
Parable 5
Ruth 5
Titus 5
amos 5
biblical 5
biblical narrative 5
biblical study 5
humor 5
jonah 5
psalms 5
2 Samuel 4
Arguing with God 4
Joshua 4
NT Acts 4
Old Testament 4
Peter 4
Psalms 4
Sin 4
context 4
gospel 4
gospels 4
judges 4
1 Kings 3
Complaint 3
God 3
Grace 3
Jonah 3
Luke gospels 3
NT 3
Scripture 3
apodictic 3
casuistic 3
death 3
lament 3
letters 3
prologue 3
proverbs 3
resurrection 3
sin 3
(ana)Baptist reading 2
1&2 Corinthians 2
5 Steps 2
Bible abuse 2
David 2
E100 Bible 2
Ephesians 2
Exodus 2
Faith 2
Genre 2
Gospel 2
Jeremiah 2
Jesus teaching 2
Mark 2
Prophets 2
Solomon 2
Yahweh 2
ascension 2
creation 2
david 2
ephesians 2
fall 2
flood 2
gapping 2
grace 2
history 2
isaiah 2
job 2
last supper 2
law 2
name of God 2
parables 2
partoral epistles 2
pastoral 2
poetry 2
rules 2
ruth 2
saul 2
spirit 2
structure 2
teaching 2
understanding the prophets 2
wisdom 2
1 cor 13 1
1&2 Peter 1
2 Kings 1
2 Timothy 2 1
2 corinthians 1
23rd psalm 1
Apocalypse 1
Bathsheba 1
Bible stories 1
Canon 1
Christology 1
Colossians 1
Context 1
Daniel 1
E100 Christ hymn 1
E100 epistle 1
Ezra 1
Galatians 1
Gapping 1
Gender 1
God breathed 1
Hannah 1
Holy Spirit 1
Humour 1
Isaiah 1
Jerusalem 1
Job 1
John betrayal 1
John crucifixion 1
Judges 1
Luke 1 1
Luke 2 1
Luke 3 1
Malachi 1
Philippians 1
Proverbs 1
Q'ran 1
Revelation 1
Righteousness 1
Righteousness good Samaritan 1
Romans 1
Samuel 1
Saul 1
Sex 1
Stephen 1
Textual criticism 1
Thessalonians Bible 1
Way 1
acts 1
adults 1
amosd 1
apocalypitc 1
apocrypha 1
areophagus 1
arguing with god 1 1
babel 1
baptism 1
betrayal 1
bible overview 1
bible stories 1
birth 1
broken pots 1
censor 1
censor the Bible 1
censorship 1
christmas 1
church leadership 1
clay pots 1
cliche 1
complaint 1
cotext 1
crucifixion 1
culture 1
deborah 1
deitrich bonhoeffer 1
deuteronomist 1
deuteronomistic history 1
deuteronomy 1
discipline 1
elijah 1
epistle 1
epistle to the romans 1
epistles 1
esther 1
ethiopian eunuch 1
exile 1
fulfillment 1
gemesis 1
Date Published
This chapter is a big sack of parables, and weâve already seen that a parable is in essence a comparison, where light is thrown on something by talking about something else, better known or more clear or vivid. The parable of the the sower is particularly complicated and developed, with lots of details but still turns on a comparison. Though Jesus does not (at first) tell his audience what it is, he wants them to think: "if you have ears then hear!" There is an English proverb...
Topics: E100, Grace, Jesus, Matthew, Parable
Prayer and Parables This section is a mix of teaching and parables. There is so much to talk about, so Iâll focus on how Jesus teaches: * like a true Jew! * in parables 6:5-8 sounds just like the prophets: true religion is not about what other people think of us, but Jusus is even more deeply theological. Remember the Bible is about God! Like all of Jesus teaching this is radical stuff the whole Christian music industry risks being demolished at a stroke, not to mention using crosses as...
Topics: E100, Jesus, Matthew, Parable, prayer
As a child I loved those old hymns that talked about God as a mystery: Immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes... Even if at first I had to ask what some of the words meant ;) actually understanding the words doesn't end the mystery... John one has the same effect except the words are easy - it's how they are used that's magic :) This brain twisting poetry is also chock full of solid Christian doctrine.
Topics: Jesus, John, poetry, prologue, prolog, mystery
There are a couple of things to notice here: * firstly how Luke stresses the role of the Holy Spirit (or rather, God, since at the start it is "an angel of the Lord") * it may have been a desert/wilderness road but like Abraham in Gen 12 "he got up and went" our response to such promptings is often more cautious, even at times Jonah-like * the Ethiopian official was prepared (been to temple, so God-fearer, reading Scripture - measure of his importance he had a copy) * Isaiah...
Topics: Isaiah, Acts, E100, philip, ethiopian eunuch
Perhaps the best known and popular psalm among both Jews and Christiansbut not easy to categorise, except that it expresses trust in God. The imagery makes even better sense when some geography and culture is understood: sheep follow shepherds, they are not left on the hills and then driven green pastures, means land where there is some green vegetation, not just rocks and dust wadis: steep sided gorges, semi-desert little vegetation, quick run off from hills = flash floods For more on this...
Topics: psalms, psalm 23, 23rd psalm, lord is my shepherd, shepherd psalm, bible, biblical study
Yes, like some of the Bible writers, I just can't resist a pun, especially if it really does help carry the message :) And in this case I think it does, more specifically after we have noticed quickly some of the good stuff in the famous David and Goliath story of David and Goliath. For this podcast, perhaps as homework, you might want to play with a computer Bible... and you might also want to return to the comments, and discuss the vexed question of the nature of blasphemy against the Holy...
Topics: 1 Samuel, Narrative, biblical narrative, Matthew, pun
In this podcast we'll notice just how firmly this passage tells us that the miracle at the Reed Sea* was indeed entirely a miracle. We'll notice how good source critics were/are at spotting small discrepancies in texts, but also how little the composers of the Bible seemed to care about detail, concerned with things that matter (relationships, especially and particularly our relationship with God) rather than "facts" which are merely of secondary importance. And, watching and...
Topics: exodus, narrative, biblical studies, red sea, reed sea
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
This week's 5 is a somewhat artificial collection, putting together two different things. Yet both Psalms and Proverbs work differently from the narrative/history and prophecy that comprise the bulk of the Old Testament, and both are used a lot by Christians along with Genesis and Isaiah (while most of the Old Testament lies unread the Two-Thirds Bible). In this podcast we'll look at how different genres (see the posts here, especially: Genre matters: 1- Why genre matters) work. This will help...
Topics: psalms, proverbs, bible, biblical study
Luke 16:1-11 records one of Jesus most puzzling parables. In it he praises an agent who defrauds his boss. What's going on? We reach an uncomfortable conclusion :(
Topics: bible, luke, luke16, parable
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
This is the passage that makes sense of Gen 2, and of human life. Our world and our lives are broken and spoiled because of sin. Sin is not breaking rules, it is breaking relationship with the maker by wanting to assume the power ourselves. The reading of Genesis 3 is here. There is another take on this passage, talking about Bonhoefferâs paradoxical take on âconscienceâ in an earlier podcast.
Topics: bible, creation, genesis, sin, fall
Matthew has introduced Jesus, giving his genealogy, linking him to the story of God's chosen people in particular to David the great king (messiah) and Abraham the ancestor (patriarch) whom God first chose and blessed to be the blessing of the rest of humanity, and four really interesting women. He has told the birth, with a focus on kingship (messiah) and opposition (Herrod's massacre of innocents). The escape to and return from Egypt â as well as being Messiah Jesus recapitulates Israel....
Topics: Jesus, Matthew, gospel, gospels, incarnation
Here's a second instalment of Saul's introduction¦ if when you are listening you have a Bible handy, open it to 1 Sam 9:11ff.
Topics: Bible, 1 Samuel, humour, humor, saul
OK this story must be one of the best-known that Jesus ever told, everyone has heard it! And if not (at least if they speak English or French or just about any other European language) they know the main characterâs name â The Good Samaritan. Except that, what we know if we know this, is all wrong! Jesus was a prophet so to understand what heâs doing here we need to remind ourselves how Prophets work. So after a quick recap on prophets we think about what Jesus the prophet is doing when he...
Topics: E100, Jesus, Luke, Narrative, NT, Parable, Prophets, Righteousness good Samaritan, Jesus, Luke,...
Three great chapters, full of well crafted narrative, with a stirring song thrown in! There is too much detail to notice in the way these stories are told, you'll have to watch for the fun yourselves. In this 'cast I'll focus more on the song, and not so much on its detail as overall how it works. (For more background on this see my Why Read the Bible? Dreams and visions which is part of a longer series of reflections on Lost Treasures of the Bible: reading "from another place":...
Topics: 1 Samuel, Narrative, biblical narrative, Samuel, Hannah
In this podcast, before looking at the passages selected for week 4, Iâll do a quick overview of what I think we should have noticed from Genesis (a sort of 30 second recap of weeks 1-3 ;) Then Iâll try to set the scene for week 4, which covers the story of the Exodus. Phrasing it that way though is perhaps not the best summary of Exodus 1-18. After listening to my podcast maybe you can suggest a better one?
Topics: exodus, narrative, biblical studies, theology, slavery
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
Juxtaposition: putting things together to make something "more than the sum of the parts" is a common artistic skill, it is common (but often unrecognised) in the Bible. As my least favourite book of the Bible helps reveal!
Topics: isaiah, jonah, obadiah, bible
Judges is definitely not suitable for Sunday School reading, the bits that are told are firmly censored, and few of us go back to notice what we are missing. But, if we do, what we find is a book chock full of horrid twisted tales, brutal, brutish and sadly not short. Why? Can such a nasty collection of stories be justified, or should it simply be banned?
Topics: Judges, Narrative, Sex, bible
The puzzle of Jonah's actions, and other strange goings-on don't stop in Jonah 1:3, but deepen (pun intended) as we begin to read on ;) we meet the ship that had plans of its own and hear echoes of Santa Claus in the telling of Jonah's story ;)
Topics: jonah, narrative, biblical studies, bible
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
Hereâs my overview of the E100 plan before I started doing the podcasts.It is mainly concerned with how (and why) they have selected the readings they have. It will be interesting to do another at the end, and compare my impressions of the list of readings âbeforeâ and âafterâ.
Topics: bible, e100, reading, bible overview
Many people think the Bible is like a hologram, any part of which shows the truth. The practice of scholars, preachers and teachers, of citing single verses or lists of verses to demonstrate something, encourages this view. The claim that the Bible is âinerrantâ in all its parts seems to seal the idea. Yet in the Bible God itself told us in the Bible that it is false!
Topics: bible, job, reading
This is the first of what might need to be a long series! Just to do justice to the introduction of Saul in 1 Sam 9 I'll need at least 2 posts ;)
Topics: Bible, 1 Samuel, humour, humor, saul
In this Genesis chapter 15 God keeps reiterating his promises to Abraham. Wonderful promises! But Abrahamâs replies are less than politely gracious. Which teaches us a thing or two about God :)
Topics: E100, Genesis, bible, promises
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
This second look at the complaint psalms continues to focus on Psalm 22. Part three will return to Jeremiah.
Topics: Arguing with God, Complaint, Psalms, lament, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
This post deals with Jonah 1:1, I excuse this by reference to the new commentary series announced on the first of this month by Eisenbrauns ;-) This 'cast deals with beginnings, and with whether the clues in this verse suggest Jonah is of the genre prophecy or narrative (if you donât understand why this question matters, keep coming back as I'll have a post on "Why genre matters" soon!
Topics: amos, genre, jonah, bible
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
My tradition (the Baptist part of the Nonconformist or radical Reformation) has stressed the idea that Scripture is perspicuous, that the Bible is easy to understand, and that anyone can understand it â or at least grasp its essentials â without special training or equipment. Yet there are for sure some difficult passages. There are also passages that seem to flat out contradict other parts of the Bible. How can you call a book like that âperspicuousâ? In this post Iâll argue that one key...
Topics: (ana)Baptist reading, Jesus, Reading, bible, interpretation, biblical studies
Many people think the Bible is like a hologram, any part of which shows the truth. The practice of scholars, preachers and teachers, of citing single verses or lists of verses to demonstrate something, encourages this view. The claim that the Bible is âinerrantâ in all its parts seems to seal the idea. Yet in the Bible God itself told us in the Bible that it is false!
Topics: bible, job, reading
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
This is the first part of a short series (it might only be two parts, who knows ;) on passages where God exegetes his own words. In this part we'll look at 2 Samuel 7, where David wants to build a "house" = temple for God, since he already has a nice "house" = palace for himself ("house of cedar" means a palace with expensive wood panelling). I'll look at how God gives a four word speech and then explains in detail what it means. And in the process starts the...
Topics: Bible, 2 Samuel, humour, humor, interpretation
Don't look for happy families in the tales of the ancestors, matriarchs and patriarchs, of God's chosen people. Genesis 27-28 carry the story into the next two generations but present a thoroughly dysfunctional family. Yet Genesis 28 tells also of one of the most dramatic revelations of God and renewal of Godâs promises to this chosen people. These chapters present a powerful reminder that humans are full of and ruled by sin, but that Godâs grace is not thwarted so easily. Image poisonous...
Topics: E100, Genesis, Grace, Sin
So, here's the second part of the Jonah series. This time we focus on 1:3. Again we end with a question - but at least the right question is better than the wrong answer!
Topics: bible, jonah, genre
There are two takeaways from this chapter. The first is the lovely poem (or verse from a hymn) in vv.11-13 If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful- - for he cannot deny himself. The other is the apparent contradiction between Paulâs advice to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:14) "avoid wrangling over words", suggesting that there are details that do not...
Topics: 1&2 Tim, Titus, E100, 2 Timothy 2
Notice the opening - beginnings are often important - and in this case that importance is highlighted when the theme is repeated, that's another clue - we repeat things that matter! The man born blind is a great character, do enjoy listening to him "naively" running rings round the clever religious scholars :) So, it's all about spotting who Jesus is, and the evidence is what he does â handsome is as handsome does! Or better about spotting what God is doing and the appropriate...
Topics: Jesus, John, miracles
All, speech requires prior knowledge to be understood. Usually this is largely shared within a culture. So if I say "the cat" I do not usually have to tell you first what a cat is. (Even if in the context of a novel about old-time sailors it might be a whip. Some courses of study have organised "prerequisites" courses you must take before them. Many books have a preface or prologue that cointains material the author thinks you need to know before tackling the body of the...
Topics: bible, genesis, e100, prologue, sin, grace
If this was a merely human story youâd expect God's bold attempt at drastic punishment to have an equally bold result. Either humanity reformed, or the rebellion gets deeper ;) But of course neither is possible. humanity is unreformable, just try making a few worthwhile New Year's resolutions to prove that ;) nor is rebellion any deeper possible. So what we get instead is a second old-fashioned word, to add to the collection of outmoded terms we began with "sin" earlier. Here's the...
Topics: bible, genesis, e100, flood
Paul's summarises the Old Testament story from a Jewish-Christian perspective as a world looking for a saviour. Then John showed that still "today" not just in ancient times people are looking for a saviour. Jesus not only died, but rose, and this is the keeping of God's ancient promises. In Jesus God fills out, fully, the hopes and promises of the past. In Jesus, we are set free from sin - sin is not a trendy term today, but we still suffer from living in a world that is wrong. The...
Topics: E100, Acts, Paul, Sin
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
What else could we call it? God vs. Pharaoh, it's a foregone conclusion â exceptâ¦
Topics: exodus, narrative, biblical studies, theology, God, Yahweh, name of God
This is a repost of one of two 5 Minute Bible pieces on Babel. The other one is here: Babel 2: Gen 11 a straight up and down story This time I've used some technical language, but I think it will make sense, however if you do want to learn more about 'point of view' and 'frames' you could see my Introduction to Narrative and Narrative Poetics which is not as technical as it may sound!
Topics: bible, genesis, e100, babel, sin, grace
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
Genesis 12 marks the beginning of the real story of the Bible. Chapters 1-11 are a prologue both to Genesis and to the Bible as a whole. They introduced us to "characters" (not least God - singular and with a capital G) and to the central issue that the Bible addresses. In chapter 12 we are introduced to Abraham, the first of the ancestors of the people God chose. Their story will fill the rest of the Old Testament. But also in Gen 12 we have to recognise what an odd choice God made....
Topics: bible, E100, Faith, Genesis, Sin
In this podcast we'll begin to grapple with a complicated idea, but quite simply begin to discover how to become (more) ideal readers. We'll be looking at Eph 4 , and you will also need a bookmark in Ps 68 . This is a podcast in two parts (otherwise I'd have to change the name to 10 minute Bible, so do listen to tomorrow's episode after today's ;)
Topics:, ephesians, psalms, Reading, interpretation
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
This is the first part of a short series (it might only be two parts, who knows ;) on passages where God exegetes his own words. In this part we'll look at 2 Samuel 7, where David wants to build a "house" = temple for God, since he already has a nice "house" = palace for himself ("house of cedar" means a palace with expensive wood panelling). I'll look at how God gives a four word speech and then explains in detail what it means. And in the process starts the...
Topics: Bible, 2 Samuel, humour, humor, interpretation
In these chapters we see again very strongly that we are not told by the text how to understand people's actions, in these chapters we have to judge Joseph and his brothers, using the knowledge of good, evil and everything in between that is part of our experience as children of Eve and of Adam. And in this reading motives are far from clear cut!
Topics: bible, genesis, e100, narrative, gapping
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
This is perhaps the chapter of the Bible that more people have partly heard than any other. We have also heard things that aren't there: like the animals around the manger who don't get a mention in Luke's account â perhaps because their presence in houses as well as "stables" they were taken for granted. Most people have a favourite part of this chapter. My childhood favourite is left out of the set reading, but I'll talk about why other bits have stuck in my mind more recently....
Topics: Jesus, birth, christmas, mary, Luke, Luke 2
This is the story in which we hear the interface between Judges, "Everyone did as they saw fit, for there was no king in Israel", and the story of the Hebrew kingdoms. In these few chapters there is loads of good stuff to notice (for a start try): Humour in the Bible: Part 1: Introducing Saul Humour in the Bible: Part 2: Still Introducing Saul Direct speech in biblical narratives But this time I'll restrain myself, and just mention one or two neat narrative details. Instead I'll...
Topics: 1 Samuel, Narrative, biblical narrative
We look at how Jesus reads other Bible passages (still in Matthew 5) to begin confirming the hypothesis that to read Scripture with Jesus is to make it so extreme that rules (casuistic law) become goals (apodictic command). Before you get to the next podcast it would be a good idea to listen to "What DOES 'fulfil' mean?" and "Jesus as fulfilment of Scripture: Slavery and Spanking"
Topics: Jesus, Law, Matthew, Reading, bible, casuistic, apodictic, genre
Malachi is a short prophetic book, the name Malachi just means "my messenger" which seems to be what the speaker calls himself. It has no more details of time, place or person in the superscription (as most prophetic books do), but the content suggests Judah after the exile under Persian rule. The book opens opens with a strong statement of Yahweh's election of Israel, using hyperbole (exageration) to make it's impact. "Malachi" accuses his audience of being willing to obey...
Topics: prophet, prophecy, Malachi, Bible, Old Testament
In part two we get drawn to the hymn in Phil 2 and discover not only what Jesusâ disscension is all about, but also get to understand the talk of us being gifts in Eph 4:11-13 better. (If you have not listened to part 1 do listen to that first.)
Topics: context, ephesians, Jesus, philippians, Reading
Stephen suggested I do a 'cast about the Babel story, so here it is :) a first 'cast about Babel. In this one I'll begin with points of view and language. Since this will have to be a series we'll follow up from there later! For more about "point of view" and "frames" you could see my Introduction to Narrative and Narrative Poetics which is not as technical as it may sound!
Topics: genesis, narrative, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
In this podcast I’ll introduce the idea of the ending of John as a sphragis, and very briefly mention what that might mean for reading John’s gospel, but most of the time will be spent on the much less technical question of why I am convinced that Jesus rose from death and met with the disciples - because after all this passage is about the resurrection, and not about the technical details (however fascinating to biblical scholars ;)
Topics: E100, Jesus, NT Acts, ascension, Jesus, resurrection
The miracle stories in the Gospels (like the ones in the OT) are stories with the wow factor thatâs part of all miracle stories â think of the ones we hear on the infomercials on TV ;) They called this reading "Feeding the Five Thousand" but it comes in a context. Luke (like the other gospels (except Thomas which the early Christians excluded from the Bible) does not tell an unconnected series of "stories about Jesus" rather he tells us "The Story of Jesus". The...
Topics: E100, Jesus, Luke gospels, miracles
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
Spotting the exaggerations and humour in the book can help us understand, but it also acts as a warning!
Topics: bible, Genre, Humour, Jonah
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
It is certainly one of my favourite Bible passages, indeed it is many people's favourite Bible chapter. Isaiah 40 is just full of superb phrases and pictures. Whenever it was composed, this chapter really comes to life and sparkles when it is heard as the Judean exiles in Babylon heard, it just before Cyrus the Persian king captured the city. For a better idea of the background watch the Video "Babylon as background to hearing Isaiah 40" (4MB).
Topics: history, isaiah, bible, biblical studies
I'm torn two ways on how to respond to this reading: * on one side, a great opportunity to explain Passover, the great festival that celebrates God as liberator, saviour and enimy of powerful oppressors * on the other, when I read (the Bible or the Newsâ¦) I tend to sympathise with those who suffer, and while in earlier chapters that's the Israelites, here I feel the pain of bereaved Egyptian parents â how can the God who we have discovered so far in Genesis commit such a barbarous act?...
Topics: exodus, narrative, biblical studies, passover
5 Minute Bible
Amos 7:14 is a striking problem for interpreters, not least because what Amos is reported as saying to Amaziah seems to contradict what he is reported to be doing in the rest of the book. This makes it fertile ground for us to incorporate either our presuppositions or rhetoric into the text. (I use the NIV and Grasping Godâs Word) as examples in this but do not intend disrespect for the translators or authors, just to suggest they are human too! Duvall, J. Scott, and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping...
Topics: bible, amos, prophecy, context, reading
The first week's readings covered the prologue to Genesis, the second week covers the Ancestors of Faith, the Matriarchs and Patriarchs of Israel. Here we begin to see the first outlines of God's plan to restore a world warped and twisted by human sin. We also begin to discover what it means to be "people of faith". ABRAHAM - PROMISE The first vertical window from the entrance on the north side represents Abraham and promise. Abraham believed God. The winding path of light blue that...
Topics: E100, bible, Faith, Genesis, Sin
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
At the end of the book of Ezra there a horrid account of Ezra and the "officials" gang up to force Judeans who have married foreign women to divorce them and send away them and their children. What do we do with passages like this? And as part of our thinking on this, where DO our values come from? If they donât come from the Bible, then do we have to use values established elsewhere to "judge" Scripture? Many people today do just that. But I'm a Baptist, Scripture is my...
Topics: (ana)Baptist reading, Ezra, Reading, bible, interpretation
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
The first reading in a series covering the 100 essential Bible readings, contains Genesis 1-2. The 50 passages from each Testament together give an overview of the whole Bible. Today we begin at the beginning with the first teo chapters of Genesis. I also dealt with Genesis 1 in a previous post. By the way there is a reading of the passage (if you want to hear rather than see it on There is an RSS feed for the E100 series only.
Topics: bible, genesis, prologue
What is a âGospelâ? Not a collection of sayings, because they tell more stories, but not a biography, they almost miss out most of Jesus' life! We'll get an idea what Gospels really are by looking at how each Gospel concludes (Matt 28:17-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:51-53; John 20:30-31). Then, the four gospels begin so differently! They are different so we get four different âtakesâ on Jesus, a full rounded view, not one person's biases.
Topics: Jesus, John, Luke, Mark, Matthew, gospel, gospels
The pericope in John 7:53-8:11 is a fascinating test case in the interaction of text criticism and canon. Both the history of canon, and textual criticism seem dull and unexciting. Yet here they combine into a detective story or a theological conundrum that contributes to making the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy conflict with most Christian preachers' practice! In this post I won't address the detective story. But I will discuss this passage as a hint that we need a supple and...
Topics: Canon, John, Textual criticism, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
How do we picture Scripture? That is what is/are the (unconscious) models in our heads as we read and use the Bible? This âcast refers particularly to Gen 18:20ff. and Amos 7.
Topics: bible, amos, genesis, reading, interpretation
The book of Judges starts badly and gets worse. The end gets completely censored, never read in church, even the Sunday School stories get their naughty bits covered up! The book ends with a slogan in 21:25 "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit." Which neatly prepares for the books of Samuel except by the time we reach the end of 2 Kings (even if we are slow learners) we realise that kings are not much better. And that's how Scripture develops in the Hebrew...
Topics: ruth, judges, bible, bible study
I have not focused these 5 Minutes on how Is 53 speaks so clearly about Jesus, it is the Old Testament passage that is most clearly, directly and simply fulfilled in Christ. But that status should not make it paradigmatic for undedrstanding how Jesus fulfills Scripture. For more on that (and there is nothing on that in this podcast :( see What DOES "fulfil" mean? And other podcasts on this topic here. Instead in this audio talk I want to focus on reading the prophets. The prophets are...
Topics: history, prophet, prophecy, bible, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
The "Pastoral epistles" 1 & 2 Tim and Titus offer advice to two young companions of Paul's travels called to church leadership - Timothy, in the big city of Ephesus and Titus on the island of Crete. There is even more debate about whether these letters were written by Paul than was the case for Ephesians - but as always the issues are highly technical and one needs good Greek as well as significant knowledge of both what we know and how we know it about the development of the...
Topics: 1&2 Tim, Titus, 5 Steps, E100, pastoral, partoral epistles
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
Despite its title this five has little about the law, and not enough about the covenant (binding agreement) to which this law belongs. The selection of passages (the first time I have strongly differed from the choice made by the organisers) is weighted towards American Evangelical favourite Sunday School stories. Having got that gripe off my chest, we'll notice how in these readings we learn (again) about what it does and does not mean to be God's chosen people. And we will discover more in...
Topics: Exodus, Joshua, law, promised land
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
This podcast is aimed at real beginners in biblical study and addresses why multiple contexts are important for reading/hearing texts, particularly the Bible.
Topics: bible, context, interpretation, reading, culture, genesis psalms
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
This post starts to talk about Psalm 22, mentioning Job 10 on the way, we will examine these passages as a way into understanding "complaint psalms". Complaints are the commonest type of psalm in the book of psalms. You might like to listen to my earlier post "Arguing with God: Jer 12:1-4" first, it sets the scene for this one, and should probably have been called "Complaint psalms: Part One"! I hope the next post - in a few days - will follow up looking some more...
Topics: Arguing with God, Complaint, Job, Psalms, lament, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
Passover was the greatest pilgrimage festival for 1st century Jews, Jerusalem was packed with people (like for a world cup - only more crowded ;) celebrating the great liberation from foreign oppression that God worked for Moses and the ancestors in Exodus. No wonder the Romans were jumpy, no wonder the Sadducees on the Sanhedrin (Jewish council) shared their concern, and it was an ideal opportunity for the Pharisees to do something about a dangerously radical Rabbi who failed to respect proper...
Topics: E100, Jesus, last supper, Luke
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
Typescene sounds like a typical technical term scholars use make Bible stories dull :( In this podcast I hope to show you it's exactly the opposite and that by spending 5 minutes learning about typescenes you can discover a livelyness you may have missed, even in a well-loved story like Ruth. (Other passage you should have ready, or look at before listening are: Genesis 24; 29 & Exodus 2:15ff..)
Topics: Exodus, Genesis, Narrative, Ruth
What matters, what really matters, is getting the holy between our toes. In this reading we discover Moses getting on first name terms wiuth God, and what (perhaps) God's name means. This is "holy ground" even compared to most other parts of the Bible, so take your shoes off, and listen. No, God's name yhwh does not just mean the 'One who is' and it for sure does not mean "Don't ask, because I won't tell you!" but to find out what more I think it means listen in ;)
Topics: exodus, narrative, biblical studies, theology, God, Yahweh, name of God
This podcast takes a second look at Babel, with a focus on the structure of the story, and its themes. It includes "homework" for which you should ideally have a photocopy of Genesis 11:1-9 (preferably in a fairly literal translation like NRSV, RSV, TNIV, NIV, ESVâ¦) and some coloured markers or crayons.
Topics: gemesis, structure, bible, biblical studies
In this 5 minute recording I try to introduce Daniel, a book that has been placed among the prophets in Christian Bibles (following the tradition of the old Greek translation) but is not a "prophet" in the Hebrew Bible. The book contains two sorts of material, stories about Daniel, like this one "Daniel in the Lions' Den", and records of Daniel's visions, which seem to speak in a half hidden coded language. The visions are rather like Revelation in the New Testament, and...
Topics: Daniel, Bible, biblical study, apocalypitc, lions
Bible stories, with a few exceptions (maybe some parables for example) do NOT have nice neat "morals". If you want to say "and the moral of the story is..." don't read the Bible. But by contrast if you want people with real depth, who make it difficult for us to work out what their motives are, and therefore hard to simply place them in appropriate "boxes", the Bible is the book for you :) In this reading we'll notice depth and complexity in two of the less central...
Topics: 2 Samuel, narrative, Bible stories
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
Continuing the series on Jonah, we rush ahead into the second verse of the book, only to spot yet again possibly more than one meaning. Jonahâs task however is clear. By the way I am sorry about the long delays recently, I hope to post more regularly again, but not till after enjoying a two week holiday - starting on Sunday.
Topics: jonah, narrative, biblical studies, bible
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
This chapter focuses on Joshua taking over from Moses, now that (at the end of Deuteronomy) Moses is dead and gone (though no one except God) saw him die. In the reading we learn a lot about how the Bible views leadership, and it does not easily fit with any of our modern, well-worn patterns. Thank God! We also (not coincidentally) learn about cooperation among God's people.
Topics: Joshua, Bible, biblical studies
What's a little miracle among friends? Yet Jesus seems to avoid performing one that would have saved his friends great pain, only to perform a greater one! And then there's the ominous clouds gathering that by the end of the chapter foretell the storm to follow. Noticing some detail of how John tells this great sign we will learn more about reading Bible stories, and about trusting/believing in Jesus...
Topics: E100, Jesus, John, miracles
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
Often in biblical narrative things "just seem to happen", rather like they do in our lives ;) But are such "happenings" chance or divine providence at work? We'll try to decide, using Gen 37:12ff. (read with Gen 39) and Ruth 2 as examples.
Topics: Gapping, Genesis, Narrative, Ruth, biblical studies
These two chapters, as well as some (now several millennia later) boring stuff about wells, contsain some of the heights and depths of human experience. A birth to a childless couple, well well after normal childbearing years, and nasty vindictive selfishness. But also an outrageous demand from God, blind obedience and a few hints of something greater to come...
Topics: bible, genesis, e100